The Village Gains a Coding School- DigitalCrafts

May 11, 2016

With their third cohort starting in the Village this summer, DigitalCrafts is an Accelerated Learning Program or "coding school" newly headquartered at the Village. They transform beginners into full-stack web developers with cutting edge skill sets, polished portfolios, interview training, and on-going career support.DigitalCrafts help to complete our vibrant and growing community with technical students mixing with our 285+ hiring startups. Led by founders Max McChesney and Jake Hadden, they are an excellent culture fit for the Village. Learn more about what they do below and become a builder of things!

What is your 20 second pitch on DigitalCrafts?

There are over 500k vacant job openings in the tech industry today, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that number will breach 1 million by 2020.  DigitalCrafts is an Accelerated Learning Program, more affectionately known as a "coding bootcamp," that aims to help correct this growing skills gap.  For students, we offer a 21st century path to a career in coding and technology.  For employers, we offer free access to a diverse talent pool of exceptionally motivated engineers with experience in the technologies that are in-demand today.The reputation we have been working hard to establish is one of quality and difficulty, both in admissions and academic rigor. Our admissions process is selective, and our curriculum is challenging, but we aim to be the most effective coding bootcamp with the best student outcomes in our region, simple as that.

What classes do you offer?

Our flagship course is the 16-Week Immersive Programming Bootcamp, headquartered right here at the Atlanta Tech Village!  We teach from the ground up, so our students go from beginner to entry-level, full-stack developer in just 4 months.  “Full-stack” means our curriculum covers the front-end portion of web development as well as the back-end.  Students gain experience with two full technology stacks: Javascript, Node.js and the MEAN stack are our primary focus, and encompass some of the most cutting edge technologies today that are being used at companies like Google, LinkedIn, Netflix, and Paypal. PHP and the LAMP stack are powerful and mature technologies with a large share of the job market, and are being used by the likes of Facebook, Wordpress, and Wikipedia.We’ve also developed an elective program, which to my knowledge is the only one of its kind. Our immersive students have their core web classes from 9am to 5pm, Mondaythrough Friday, but they also have the option to enroll in rotating elective tracks in the evenings. Topics include UI/UX Design, Ionic Cross-platform Mobile Development, and Native Swift / iOS Mobile Engineering. These optional learning tracks encompass highly complementary skills for any developer’s portfolio, and are a fantastic way for our graduates to further distinguish themselves on the job market.

Why did you decide to open a coding bootcamp?

The idea for DigitalCrafts was born from my experience as a prospective student.  I studied finance in school, and it only took a few years of sitting in Microsoft Excel for me to realize that wasn’t the career for me.  Initially, I considered applying to Georgia Tech’s CS Master’s Program, but became hesitant because I would have had to start from square one with undergraduate classes.I also became sold on the idea that the traditional education model is broken, and the accelerated immersive approach is undeniably working towards a fix.  It’s exciting to be involved in a movement with such promising macro-level tailwinds, and to be doing it with such good friends as partners is a huge plus.  Most importantly, the relationships we’ve built with our students have been an unanticipated daily reward.  We’re a small shop, and we get to know everyone so well throughout the class.  When a student gets a job offer that, in some cases, almost doubles their prior income, the whole team is celebrating with champagne and high-fives.  It feels good!

What sets you apart from other programming schools in Atlanta?

On the West coast, some of the top programs boast 90+% employment rates amongst their alumni, with average graduating salaries north of $100k. In our region, few schools are even willing to share their placement statistics. I realize Atlanta may not claim the entry-level salaries of Silicon Valley, but we definitely aim to compete on student outcomes and transparency.  In our last class, we had 10 students graduate on February 12th.  9 of them were looking for work, and we're happy to say all 9 were employed within 2 months of graduating.  3 students in the same class received 4 job offers before even graduating, and we just had our first student in the current cohort accept an offer in week 8 of class (you can read his thoughts on the experience here).For some more quantitative differences: we keep small class sizes (average is 11), we’re the only school in town with 100% 5-star reviews, and our instructors all have 10+ years of professional development experience.  Even though our program is 4 weeks longer than the nearest alternative, our total tuition is less and our cost-per-hour-of-instruction is 28% lower.There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for our students or graduates, and I think that really comes through in the experience.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that every student is a member at the Village!

Why did you choose to call Atlanta home?

Jake and I have both lived in Atlanta since college, and I grew up just down the road from Atlanta Tech Village.  We were fortunate to find Rob, our third partner, just as he moved back to Atlanta from Iowa.  It’s a fantastic town with so much going for it, both economically and otherwise.  The excitement level in the city seems at an all-time high, and the weather is (almost) always beautiful.  I’m also a big music fan, and every band you’d ever want to see makes sure to stop through!

Looking to gain some coding skills? Check out DigitalCrafts and become a part of the Village community.

DigitalCrafts Upcoming Class ScheduleMay 2nd, 2016 - Aug 19th, 2016  (Sold Out)Jul 11th, 2016 - Oct 28th, 2016  (Seats Remaining)Sep 12th, 2016 - Jan 6th, 2017  (Seats Remaining)Admissions Process1. Online Application2. Informal Interview3. Code Challenge

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